What does my Grand Canyon Whitewater rafting guide when she says, “There is a HUGE hole in this next rapid, we are going to try and avoid it” or “I’ll eddy out after this rapid so you can take photos of the next raft coming through the rapid?”
A little 411, most of the rapids you will encounter on a Colorado River trip are formed when side canyons flash flood and carry large amounts of debris into the Colorado River. And we aren’t just talking sticks and small stones, the debris flows can consist of many car-sized boulders. In 1966 a one of the most notable and recent debris flow intensified a mild rapid into Crystal Rapid as we know it today, one of the most technical of the Grand Canyon Rapids.
That being said, a “hole” forms downstream of a submerged boulder. The boulder hinders the flow of water so a limited amount of water will flow over the boulder and recirculate to create a place where the water looks like a Maytag washing machine. Get it?
An “eddy” is when water flows around an obstacle and then has to flow back upstream to fill in the void behind the obstacle. Some eddies are very calm and slow-moving and provide a good place for a boat to pull out of the main current. This is what is meant when a guides says they are going to “eddy out.”
Now that you are up to speed with Colorado River rafting terms, let’s go boating, catch a hole, surf it a bit, hopefully not do an endo or get maytagged. Then we’ll bomb downstream and ferry right into camp just after that domer. You in?! We’ll explain…later…
Call Grand Canyon Whitewater for more trip information and lingo! 1-800-343-3121